im·​po·​tence | \ ˈim-pə-tən(t)s How to pronounce impotence (audio) \

Definition of impotence

: the quality or state of being impotent: such as
a : lack of power, strength, or vigor : weakness … the growing impotence of governments in the face of corporate willfulness and regional factionalism.— Alan Wexelblat
b : an abnormal physical or psychological state of a male characterized by inability to engage in sexual intercourse because of failure to have or maintain an erection : erectile dysfunction

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Examples of impotence in a Sentence

the congressional committee's essential impotence in affecting the management of the war was frustrating to its members
Recent Examples on the Web This gives the book a feeling of impotence at best and dangerously misdirected blame at worst. Erin Berger, Outside Online, 8 Feb. 2021 The loud rage sweeping over the European continent at present is born of this feeling of impotence. Bruno Maçães, Time, 1 Mar. 2022 Terrence Deyalsingh, the health minister of Trinidad and Tobago, on Wednesday dismissed Minaj's claim that COVID-19 vaccines can cause impotence, The Hill reports. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 15 Sep. 2021 They will be ordered to disarm and neutralise and prove their complete impotence over and over again. Bruno Maçães, Time, 1 Mar. 2022 Though known for his otherworldly intensity, the episode’s host, Willem Dafoe, felt like a muted presence, except in a strange sketch about impotence. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 30 Jan. 2022 There are familiar biographical elements (childhood trauma, delusions of intellectual grandeur, sporadic impotence), and then there are his extraordinary powers of personal persuasion. New York Times, 25 Jan. 2022 Meusy became her unofficial handler, performing the job with a clumsy mix of hawkishness and impotence. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 11 Aug. 2021 In 1999, Dole made headlines by openly discussing male impotence problems in ads for Viagra. Kathy Kiely, USA TODAY, 5 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impotence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of impotence

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of impotence was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Impotence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for impotence


im·​po·​tence | \ ˈim-pə-təns How to pronounce impotence (audio) \

Kids Definition of impotence

: the quality or state of lacking power or strength


im·​po·​tence | \ ˈim-pət-ən(t)s How to pronounce impotence (audio) \

Medical Definition of impotence

1 : the quality or state of not being potent drug-resistant bacteria are a virulent indicator of the growing impotence of antibiotics
2 : an abnormal physical or psychological state of a male characterized by inability to engage in sexual intercourse because of failure to have or maintain an erection

called also erectile dysfunction

More from Merriam-Webster on impotence

Nglish: Translation of impotence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impotence for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about impotence


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